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Herring v. United States

United States Supreme Court
555 U.S. 135 (2009)



A police investigator asked the Coffee County’s warrant clerk if there were any warrants out for Herring’s (defendant) arrest. When none were found, the investigator asked the clerk to check with the clerk in Dale County, who reported that there was one active arrest warrant. The investigator asked that a copy of the arrest warrant be faxed over as confirmation. However, when the Dale County clerk looked for the actual warrant she could not find it and discovered that the warrant had been recalled. She immediately called to tell the Coffee County clerk, who radioed to tell the investigator. However, while all this only took 10 to 15 minutes to transpire, the investigator had already pulled Herring over, arrested him and, after conducting a search of his car, found drugs and a gun. Herring was charged with illegally possessing drugs and a gun. He moved to have the drugs and the gun suppressed at trial because there was in fact no warrant for his arrest and thus his initial arrest had been unlawful. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that the investigator acted in good faith, and therefore, the exclusionary rule would not serve to deter future police misconduct. The court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, C.J.)

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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